CODE-MIXING AND CODE-SWITCHING
Names and attitudes: us and themSome communities have special names, often pejorative or facetious, or both, for a hybrid variety: in India, Hindlish and Hinglish are used for the widespread mixing of Hindi and English; in Nigeria, amulumala (verbal salad) is used for English and Yoruba mixing and switching; in the Philippines, the continuum of possibilities is covered by the terms Tagalog—Engalog—Taglish—English, in Quebec, by français—franglais—Frenglish—English. Despite the fact that mixing and switching are often stigmatized in the communities in which they occur, they often serve such important functions as marking ethnic and group boundaries. Among minorities, the home language (the ‘we’ code) is used to signify in-group, informal, and personalized activities, while the other language (the ‘they’ code) is used to mark outgroup, more formal, and distant events. Speakers use a change of language to indicate their attitude to what is being said. In the following, Panjabi marks the in-group and English the out-group among immigrants to the UK: Usi ingrezi sikhi e te why can't they learn? (‘We learn English, so why can't they learn [an Asian language]?’). The switch emphasizes the boundaries between ‘them’ and ‘us’.
Other reasons for switching include the prestige of knowing the out-group or dominant language, often a language associated with a religion, empire, education, and a wide sphere of operation and interest: for example, social status has long been marked among Hindus in India by introducing elements of Sanskrit and Pali into vernacular use and among Muslims by bringing in Arabic and Persian. In Europe, the same effect has been achieved by introducing elements of Latin and Greek. Today, social status is marked in India and elsewhere by introducing elements of English. It is not always the case that borrowing or switching occurs because speakers do not know the words in one or the other language. Widespread code-switching often indicates greater or less shift towards the more dominant of the two languages. Currently, English is the most widely used language in the world for mixing and switching. See DIGLOSSIA, FRANGLAIS, INTER-LANGUAGE, LANGUAGE SHIFT.
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